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Historian Lucy Schildkret Dawidowicz from New York, then a YIVO `aspirant' (research fellow) , posing with Riva Kalmanovitch, wife of YIVO director Zelig Kalmanovitch
Kalmanowicz Zelig- Hirsz
Zelig Hirsch Kalmanovich (Latvian: Z?lig Hirš Kalmanovi?) (1885, Kuldiga - 1944, Narva) was a Litvak Jewish philologist, translator, historian, and community archivist of the early 20th century. He was a renowned scholar of Yiddish. In 1929 he settled in Vilna where he became an early director of YIVO.
He was incarcerated in the Vilna Ghetto where he became an observant Jew. During his time in the Ghetto Kalmanovich kept a secret diary which is one of the few primary sources recording day-to-day life. His diary stressed the efforts of the community to retain their humanity in the face of oppression. For example, on October 11, 1942, he wrote the following entry in his diary:
"On Simhat Torah eve at the invitation of the rabbi, I went for services in a house that had formerly been a synagogue and was now a music school ... I said a few words: 'Our song and dance are a form of worship. Our rejoicing is due to Him who decrees life and death. Here in the midst of this small congregation, in the poor and ruined synagogue, we are united with the whole house of Israel, not only with those who are here today ... And you in your rejoicing, atone for the sins of a generation that is perishing. I know that the Jewish people will live ... And every day the Holy One, blessed be He, in His mercy gives us a gift which we accept with joy and give thanks to His holy name."
During the Nazi occupation, he was forced to work at YIVO, sorting through the pillaged contents of Vilna's libraries and preparing selected volumes for shipment to Germany. He was sent to a death camp in Estonia, where he died in 1944.
* Z. Kalmanovitch, Yoman be-Getto Vilna u-Ketavim me-ha-Izavon she-Nimze'u ba-Harisot ("A Diary from the Ghetto in Nazi Vilna"), Tel Aviv, 1977, pp. 85-87.
* Diary excerpts
Zelig Kalmanovitch Diary Entry
This evening at the Commander's the men were relating things that had happened to them. The scroll of agony. How they handed over 400 souls to the murderers. An order came together with a threat. They went there and a thousand and more were demanded. They demanded women and large families. Till they agreed on 600, and gave 400. Ring saved women who were already on the carts. They were assembled in the square. The children were left in the houses. It was not known in advance what their task would be. They only guessed in their hearts. Slowly, it became clear. The Jews themselves agreed when they realized that it was possible to save the rest. The rabbi ruled that the old ones should be handed over. Old ones who asked that they should be taken. There was one woman who was a hundred. They asked for police, sons of servants, soldiers of the Mistress [Germany]. They paid no heed. They offered their lives in ransom, it was not accepted. The possessions remained. The food remained. If outsiders had done the job – there would have been more victims and all the property would have been stolen. In the synagogue some read Psalms. The women wept in front of the Holy Ark....for the rest go to; http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Zelig.html